I love LIVE events - I attend 3-4 of them each year as an attendee, not a speaker. I always choose at least 2 events that I've never attended before. My business model has changed a bit so 3 of the events I'm attending this year will help me learn how to expand, grow, and monetize these changes.
LIVE events are that important to my business. In fact, most of my best friends (and colleagues) are people I met at an event over the past decade!
Attending LIVE events requires careful planning of our time, resources, and mindset. Many people who attend events listen diligently to the speakers, many take notes, and spend the rest of their time either hanging out in their room or with someone they already know. But that's not enough...
Before I go on, let me explain - I realize there are other ways to learn and grow.
The internet has a lot of great information.
Facebook and LinkedIn have amazing groups.
Online webinars provide trainings that expand our minds, ideas, and activities.
But to me, NONE OF THESE compare to LIVE events... (You know, butts-in-the-seat events.)
I sincerely believe that one of the most benefical, and game-changing, reasons to attend LIVE events is to meet new people and connect with them in a way that lasts long after the event is over. In fact, many of my best friends, colleagues, and masterminds are the result of attending LIVE events.
And I learn just as much, if not more, by chatting with other attendees, asking questions about what's working for them, etc.
Whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in the middle, knowing what to do before, during, and after the event can change your experience from AVERAGE to MIND-BLOWING!
Here are 5 things you can do to get the most out of each event. They are as relevant today as when I started implementing them a decade ago:
- Choose your event wisely. Study the speakers and the theme of the event. Do the topics resonate with you, your business, and your values? Will this attract the kind of people you want to know and hang out with? (I don't remember who said this but you never want to consistently be in a crowd where you are the smartest person in the room.)
- Get active in the FB group for the event. It can be scary to arrive at an event and not know a soul. I get it. So do this instead! Most events have FB groups. Set it up so you get notifications every time someone posts something... yes, this can be annoying but hang in here with me a minute. Read each notification... who are the most active? Who is a little less active? Do you like what they are saying? Have questions? Get involved in the conversations and post your own comments to create a bit of visibility for yourself.
- Schedule meeting with other attendees BEFORE you arrive. About 2 weeks before the event, reach out and send a private message to the top 5 people you'd like to meet who are attending. Ask if they would be open to meet for 30-minutes just to compare notes, etc. Say "I'm a bit shy and intimidated at big events and it's easier for me to schedule a few get-to-know-you's ahead of time than to walk up to you at the event and ask if you want to grab a drink, etc.". Here's the magic - when you share this, the person is going to have some empathy and agree to meet with you. (This is a friendly get-to-know-you visit - DO NOT TRY AND SELL OR PITCH ANYTHING!) When you reach out to the more active people, chances are they already have plans with others. If they "like" you when you meet, they will introduce you to more people and often invite you to hang out with their group.
- Ask if you can join them. At most of the events I attend, people congregate in the hotel lobby bar. When you see a group of 3-5 people conversing and having some fun, take a deep breath, walk up to them, and ask if you may join them. Most of the time they will say yes. When I first started doing this, I was almost speechless with fear. And if you know me at all, you know that me being speechless is rare! LOL When I sat down, I listened to the conversations, asked questions, learned a lot, and made some great friends as a result. I generally ask 2 questions when meeting new people: (1) What brought them to the event and (2) What's the coolest thing that has ever happened to them because they attended an event?
- Follow-up is important. I put a star on the cards of people that met with me or that I enjoyed meeting casually throughout the event. When I get home, I sort these cards out and send handwritten thank you cards. If the addresses aren't on the cards, you can usually find them on their website. If that doesn't work, PM and ask for their mailing address. 🙂
Ok, there you have it. The secret sauce for maximizing LIVE events... Are you ready to turn the LIVE events you attend from average into mind-blowing? Now you know how!
P.S. These are the events I'm attending in 2018 so far: "Top Earner", "Funnel Hacking Live", and "Live The Dream".